By Omolara Ogunwale
As the world prepares to mark the International World Sight Day and International White Cane and Safety Day 2019, Blind persons have explained the need for people to be sensitive to white cane users.
Speaking with journalists ahead of this year’s conference which is scheduled to hold on October 14th and 15th, Tunde Muhammed Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigeria Association of the Blind, NAB on said beyond sensitizing the general public disability issues, the association wants government at all levels to adopt inclusive education.
Muhammed stressed the need to have inclusive schools saying it would avail persons with disabilities especially the blind and partially sighted the opportunity to be relevant in their community.
He noted that the government has a key role to play and can ensure that schools in the state and federal level integrate inclusive education and also make available assistive aids effective learning.
Muhammed thereafter called on the present administration in Lagos State to be disability sensitive and help in the reduction of the challenges of the blinds and advocate for acceptance by members of the society and corporate bodies.
Speaking on the State Congress International World Sight Day and International White Cane & Safety Day scheduled for 14th and 15th of October 2019, Chairman planning committee, Barr Abolarinwa Salami said the focus of this year’s conference would be to alert members of the public on the issues of the blind and the partially sighted.
Salami added that, “we are alerting the public and governments of our activities and to adopt inclusive education so that education can be accessible for visually impaired persons. To have inclusive education, what schools need do is to provide resource tutors who can understand our plights as well as provide materials for use. The available schools are not quite accessible for all, due to distance which extracts a lot of resources from us such as time, money and transporting ourselves to the locations”, he added.
For her part, Assistant Secretary, NAB Lagos chapter; Oluwakemi Odusanya said inclusiveness and accessibility are key factors to consider in addressing the challenges of blind persons within the society.
She said, “We have to accept that the blindness as come to stay and productivity as to come out of it, people believe being blind is a barrier to achieving great dreams and becoming successful so we have been ignored, you need to accept our conditions and include us into proper sectors like every other persons.
“We also need access to materials like everyone does, authors should consider producing e-books, PDF files so we all can use anytime.
Speaking on the relevance of the White Cane and Safety Day, Odusanya said, “with my cane, I am independent, I can be productive, carry out my assignments successfully, access the building of my working place and be productive in general.
“So, people need to understand that whenever they see a white cane user, the person is either blind or partially sighted and the safety of such person should be guaranteed”. She added.
The conference would feature activities ranging from enlightenment on productivity and leadership, distributions of Cane to all visually impaired persons present and advocacy for inclusive education in schools; most importantly primary schools.